Sunday, June 9, 2013

Google swype keyboard censorship

A few months back I switched from using Swiftkey's keyboard for android to using Google's native keyboard. The reason was that there was often an annoying delay from when I pressed a letter to the time it appeared on the screen. This was particularly annoying when I had pressed many letters in a series which I often do when taking notes.

Google's keyboard in contrast is much faster. I have now started using the swype technique where you simply swipe your finger from letter to letter on the keyboard and then some clever software can predict which word you are trying to write with an impressive accuracy. The improvement, once you have learned the technique, is noticeable to say the least. I am writing much faster on my smartphone (I have a Galaxy Nexus), than I ever have before.

I frequently put my daughters to sleep in the pram in the evening, which is perfect because I can walk the dog at the same time. Now, thanks to smartphones in general and apps like audible and swype keyboards in particular, I can also listen to interesting books/podcasts and take notes. All at the same time! I really cannot overstate how lucky I feel to be living in this age where boring walks can be replaced with fascinating books read aloud to you.

One thing is kind of annoying with Google's swype function however, and that is the censoring part. I am currently reading a book about the situation for women in the world (review coming in a few weeks). In this book there is naturally a lot of talk about prostitutes, brothels, sex, pimps, etc etc. The problem is that google censors these words so that when I swipe them, even if I am very accurate in my gesture, the word does not show up.

I can understand why Google have some censoring since you might not want your kids to accidentally swipe inappropriate words like fuck or cunt or shit and then send it to granny because they don't read it b before sending it away. Still there should be a way to turn it off for adults who wish not to be hindered when taking notes on a book. It also seems that their censorship is a bit too strict. I am OK not to be able to swipe the words above but it is very annoying that I cannot swipe words such as prostitute, brothel, feces, or even sex..  I have of course tried to find solutions to this on different forums but so far I have not found any. Note that the problem is not that Google don't have these words in the dictionary, they do! The problem is that when you swipe them they simply do not appear. Please Google, fix this so educating myself does not involve unnecessary frustrations.

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